- Written by Clynt Ridgell
"These women all had many, many, years of experience. They were former federal employees who were privatized under the Raytheon contract under child development services and then continued under the Global Food Services contract to provide child development services for the Navy but the new contractor Chugach removed them from their positions,” said Senator Judi Guthertz.
The senator says five of the 7 women visited her office on Friday to seek her help in what they believe was racial discrimination against locals that prevented them from being picked up by the new contractor, Chugach. The locally owned Global Food Services company previously held the contract for the CDC but the Navy did a sole source procurement contract with the Chugach Alaska Corporation. According to Chugach Western Pacific Regional manager Ray Llaneta, Chugach is simply following the provisions of the new contract which required that these ladies meet certain educational requirements.
We spoke to one of the ladies via telephone today. June Rosario says she worked at the Navy CDC for 22 years and never had any problems working there until the new contract was made. She believes someone had it out for her and the six other employees and that this is why a provision was put into the new contract requiring a bachelor's degree for a position she has already held for years. Rosario believes she and the 6 others were discriminated against because they are local.
Llaneta strongly disagrees saying there was no discrimination whatsoever and that Chugach was simply following the terms of the contract and in those terms these employees were required to have certain levels of education. Leveles of education they simply did not have. Nevertheless, Senator Guthertz believes something should be done for these unfortunate women. "I want to call upon the admiral and others to assist in resolving this matter these women are devoted employees they have a lot of skills a lot of experience working with the navy and providing child care services. We shouldn't see island residents lose their jobs that way if there's a problem with the contract the language of the contract then the language can be amended I believe the Navy can amend the contract with the support of Chugach,” said Senator Guthertz adding, "I'm very concerned about this and is if this is gonna be the kind of thing that's gonna happen with this buildup then we need to stop it. Let's protect the jobs of island residents whoever they are and get the support of the military to respect these individuals who have worked so many years devoted themselves frankly to the Navy and Navy families by providing these services to their children.”
Rosario says the women have filed a complaint with the Department of Labor and with Guam Congresswoman Madeline Bordallo. Llaneta says he feels for the women but the company's hands were tied by the terms of the contract. He says this is something that happens everyday and that new contractors often don't retain all the employees that a former contract had adding that they are fulfilling the terms of their contract and the parents, children, and the Navy are all happy with the service.